Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Are boys better off without fathers? - Glenn Sacks

Are boys better off without fathers?

Oh my God.


Peggy Drexler's new book, "Raising Boys Without Men: How Maverick Moms Are Creating the Next Generation of Exceptional Men," contends that father-absent homes -- particularly "single mother by choice" and lesbian homes -- are the best environments for boys.

While Drexler waxes poetic about fatherless parenting, she makes little attempt to explain why it results in bad outcomes for so many kids. Counterposed to the fathers she says boys don't need, Drexler holds up a wide collection of males -- "grandfathers, godfathers, uncles, family friends, coaches" -- who, she assures us, can "provide figures for horsing around, mentoring," etc. for the boys of female-headed households. She enthuses that these boys enjoy "more male figures in their lives than boys from traditional families."

Numerous studies show that the rates of the four major youth pathologies -- juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, teen drug abuse and school dropouts -- are tightly correlated with fatherlessness. For example, a 1998 study published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family showed that even after controlling for all major socioeconomic factors, including income, teens not living with their fathers were twice as likely to abuse drugs as those living in intact, two-parent married families. Likewise, according to findings presented to the American Sociological Association in 1998, after eliminating all socioeconomic differences, boys who grew up outside of intact marriages were still more than twice as likely to end up in jail as those in intact homes.

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